The Lark - Santa Barbara

4.6
2334 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
The Lark pays homage to the history of California train travel and tributes the treasured and long gone Santa Barbara Fish Market, built in the 1920’s as a commercial fish processing plant, shipping their seafood products throughout the state by rail. With an imaginative yet approachable menu created by the gifted Jason Paluska, The Lark celebrates everything found around Santa Barbara County – wineries, farms, ocean and natural beauty. The stunning design strives to connect to the past and the future, using discovered objects from the past and blending them with modern, urban and industrial materials to spectacular effect.
What 2334 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.7
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The Lark has been touted and praised by many friends. We went there for the first time on our anniversary, the receptionist picked up on that, and we were given champagne to start with, and the waiter was addressing us by name, and with much enthusiasm and obvious love for the restaurant. He had recommendations and was also very knowledgeable about the food preparation and the wines. All in all it was a wonderful anniversary experience.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Lark has amazing food, great ambiance, and wonderful service! You can’t go wrong! We came here to celebrate my husband’s birthday and they made it very special. We can’t wait to go back again next time we are in Santa Barbara!

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DB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We loved this restaurant the first couple times we came here, but this visit was very disappointing. None of the dishes clicked in terms of flavor/balance. Our pasta dish had a sauce that was very acidic and generally unappetizing. And the pear salad was overly dressed with bland pears and hardly any persimmon - we needed some sweetness from the fruit to balance the dish but there was none. The scallop dish tasted ok but there were so many components on the dish that we totally lost the scallops ... most of the ingredients were totally unnecessary.

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KV
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went back to the Lark again after a few months and was not disappointed. I had friends visiting from out of town and there was no question where we were going to eat - The Lark! The menu celebrates local farmers, fisherman and winemakers and brings together the perfect balance of elevated chic with southern comfort. Some of my favorites included the hangar steak tartare served on chicharrones with a mini Budweiser beer (so fun!), the title gems wedge salad, the half roasted chicken, and chicken-fried oysters. I tried the Kaleidoscope Eyes cocktail for the first time and fell in love with this modern take on a Moscow mule.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious popcorn popped in sage oil and tossed in cinnamon, sugar, and salt! Our server was wonderful about making suggestions. We ordered the arugula and pear autumn salad, Brussels sprouts, and the vegan plate. All were wonderful with dairy and animal omitted.

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PS
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best dining experience in SB. Surprised at how many families (kids) dine here. The noise we experienced was kid noise. Food is impeccable. Service is expert. We will return again and again.

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J
New England
3 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

We got reservations for NYE while visiting Santa Barbara and were so excited — unfortunately, the food really didn't live up to our expectations... to the point where we finally said something to our server, who was so gracious and understanding. Perhaps it was due to the busy night, or maybe we just ordered wrong, but it felt as if the ideas were there but the execution lacked follow-through (and flavor). Oh well. Pretty space though!

It's also worth noting that we ate at their bakery, Helena's, for breakfast a few days before and it was delicious!

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S
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress was amazing! So friendly and quick to anticipate our needs. Good was delicious. Always exceeds our expectations!!

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AM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My NYE dinner at The Lark was great! Delicious and creative food in an excellent atmosphere.

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YG
Los Angeles
116 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was yummy and the service was outstanding, even on New Year's Eve. We had an amazing salad with pears and arugula, a delicious hamachi dish with so many flavors, and a branzino that was so good! Ben, our server, had great suggestions and was excellent overall. It was quieter but a bit chilly outside, but they provide blankets!

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 5

Celebrate our engagement

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RM
London
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 5

Terrible sweet and messed about with food. Feel slightly like it must be a collective amnesia that this place is so popular. I can see what they are trying to do but ever dish has the same finish, like a pudding you didn't order.

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DF
Minneapolis
3 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, wonderful staff and a great setting

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OT
Hong Kong
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The chef has an excellent choice of using exotic herbs & fruit to create this complex combination flavor & presentation for every dishes!

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JG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

We enjoyed our meal but the service was so fast. We had three dishes and wine and we served all within 30 minutes. Our meal just seemed too rushed for an evening meal. We were done in less than an hour.

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CM
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Sluggish service, but overall a fun and delicious restaurant.

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DT
Birmingham
6 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The food was way too complicated for us. There was so much going on in the little gem salad and the arugula salad.
We couldn’t tell the ingredients. We ordered the pasta with butternut squash and again it was so complicated. Hard to explain
But no one ingredient shined through.
We ate at the bar and after dinner the head bartender asked how we liked our meals. I commented that I felt there was
Too much going on with the food. He glared at me and didn’t say another word to us. He also made a huge show of shaking
His cocktails every time he made one and we kept getting hit with spray from the cocktail shaker. Seriously.
This is probably the weirdest review I have ever given but... that’s how we felt the end of the evening.
Would eat there again but wouldn’t be near our first choice or second.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved everything

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Started with a salty ( ugh!) salad and ended with an unispired chicken dish. Second visit to the Lark was mediocre in comparison to an exceptional first expereience months earlier.

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CS
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Our experience was great. The dining style is definitely more family, which you can’t deduce from the menu. Food and drinks were great and atmosphere was even better. Highly recommend!

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SM
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 5

We waited for 45 minutes and our food did not arrive. When we asked about it they brought one dish and told us to share.

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The scallops and branzino were amazing and very fresh. All of the food that we had were tasty and the flavors balanced everything. Service was great and even though we were seating outside, we were warm enough.

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s
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

nice place good food a bit rich. service was good and I probably will go there again

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RM
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and amazing service! Server even asked if there were any allergies to note beforehand.

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DB
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

We started with the brussels sprouts which were good but too much for two people. The wedge salad came next and we ate all of it, again just ok. Next, after a long wait we received the short ribs (very good) and acorn squash. Platter style of eating. I would not go back it was just ok.

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OG
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent, the staff both friendly and professional, and the ambiance on the patio was perfect. Highly recommend and will be returning the next time we visit Santa Barbara.

I visited the lark with my wife and our two friends while staying the night at the harbor view inn. We're foodies and love spending time cooking at home and visiting different restaurants together. The Lark caught us a bit off-guard, in an exciting way... the service here was really unique. It started off with what became a personalized while still casual consultation about our tastes and the offer to guide us through the quantity of dishes and overall selection. We were informed that the dishes are designed for sharing family style, and that the portions are very large.

We ordered Brussels, a picnic board, two salads, and the pork belly. The Brussels and picnic board came out at the same time- when we were partially through, the huge salads arrived, followed by the pork. We came to realize that our order, which we kind of just expected to all come out together, was thoughtfully organized into a tasting menu. We very much enjoyed discovering and sampling different parts of each dish!

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X
Philadelphia
71 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We enjoyed the creative cuisine at Lark. The server guided us well and we ordered three dishes to share, which was plenty. The restaurant started us off with special popcorn, which was delicious! No problem when we asked for more! We shared a delicious kale salad, the ‘Picnic’, and the pappardelle main dish. We loved it all!

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JJ
Los Angeles
24 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service, food and atmosphere were all excellent! The waiter was so nice and helpful, the portions were large and amazingly tasty and the patio was lit, warm and lovely. We wanted all vegetarian food so we ordered the famous brussel sprouts with the fish sauce on the side, the pear salad and the pasta. The sauce on the pasta is to die for. I'll be going back for sure!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Family Pre-Christmas dinner with 6 adults plus a baby. We enjoyed the family style dinner and our pretty table under little lights (& heaters) outside.

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k
Phoenix
7 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent. From the seasoned popcorn appetizers all the way to the goat cheese cheesecake, we were impressed with every dish we tried.

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Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Food was good and the ambiance was nice. Service was excellent. Mel was our server. They are lucky to have her.

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OT
Orlando
4 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a great evening! From the special welcome and anniversary note to the super helpful staff and delicious food. They even brought us some bubbles to toast our anniversary. Highly recommend this place. We loved it!

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GA
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Menu was inventive. Food was over the top delicious. Excellent service.

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MS
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Our second visit to the Lark. It wasn't wise to expect the same flavor experience again. The dressing this time on the wedge/blue cheese salad and the Kale/squash salad was mayonnaise /bland tasting, whereas before, it was a vinegrette that permeated the lettuce and had marinated watermelon and watermelon radish. Last night there were hard apples which didn't blend into anything. This time the pork belly/cornbread dish had intense flavors as before, but was so fatty and so intense that we spent a terrible night trying to digest it. It did not help to indulge in the ginger snap fritters with ice cream. Tasty but overly sweet (sugar on sugar). Oh well. Adventurous cuisine sometimes doesn't pay off.

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AO
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing experience. We were on our honeymoon and the Lark went above and beyond our expectations! delicious food, great drinks, and amazing atmosphere ! they sat us right by the fire pit where and able to see the whole restaurant. they made sure we were well taken care of and offered us a welcome champagne to celebrate our occasion. Thank you very much for providing such a wonderful experience!!!

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U
Los Angeles
11 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service! We especially enjoyed the brussell sprouts, short rib and harvest pumpkin fritters.

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L
Central Coast
12 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We live down the street and love going when it’s not super busy. The server was really fun to chat with. The burgers were over done, the pear and arugula salad was awesome and I love that you offer Storm Sauvignon Blanc by the glass. Thanks!

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JB
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed the evening and Bill our server was wonderful . Food was great !

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JK
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fantastic meal, great atmosphere. In mid Dec was extremely comfortable outside between their fire pit and an overhead heater. Wine list was amazing too.

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R
Orlando
21 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

visiting from Atlanta and was suggested we go to Lark. Great choice. Amazing atmosphere, really cool outdoor seating with fire pits and mood lighting. Our server was really good, not pushy at all and helped with suggesting items we might like. The portions were very large, well worth the price. We had the Brussel sprouts appetizer, the cheese plate and we shared the half-chicken which was huge. Absolutely delicious food, really loved this place. Get the Brussel sprouts...maybe get two!

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